Plutocracy Now

“As F. Scott Fitzgerald famously noted, different from you and me. What is more relevant to our times, though, is that the rich of today are also different from the rich of yesterday. Our light-speed, globally connected economy has led to the rise of a new super-elite that consists, to a notable degree, of first- and second-generation wealth. Its members are hardworking, highly educated, jet-setting meritocrats who feel they are the deserving winners of a tough, worldwide economic competition—and many of them, as a result, have an ambivalent attitude toward those of us who didn’t succeed so spectacularly. Perhaps most noteworthy, they are becoming a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home. Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today’s super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves.”

Read the rest at the Atlantic.

Since World War 2, the world has become immensely more wealthy, but that wealth has not been evenly distributed. In the first world, top industrialists and financiers have benefited the most, while in the third world, those with access to modern communication technology have far outpaced their countrymen. Even in the depths of the economic crises, these new rich have continued to become richer, even as others have stagnated or fallen behind. With money comes power, but the new plutocracy does not care about nations or class or origins. What they value are ideas and innovation, and some of them care deeply about social issues. Bill Gates, George Soros, and Warren Buffett, to give some examples, have donated billions of dollars to cure diseases, extend freedom, and improve access to the technologies that are a prerequisite for becoming a member of this new class. This combination of wealth and activism is necessary for us to Prevail in the future. The alternative is unimaginably worse.

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